When An iPhone is Discovered in a Bnei Brak Yeshiva


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A talmid in the גאון יעקב Yeshiva in Bnei Brak was shocked to see his chavrusa had an iPhone, aware the device has been banned by gedolei yisrael. He told his chavrusa that HaGaon HaRav Shmuel Halevy Wosner Shlita has disqualified one who uses the device from being a witness.

He wished to bring the discovery to the attention of the rabbonim in the yeshiva, but they traveled to the tziyun of the Gra and the Chofetz Chaim.  Therefore, the talmid decided to act on his own, confiscating the iPhone.

The following day, when the rabbonim returned the talmid presented it to the mashgiach, who is quoted as saying “We are going to fulfill the mitzvah of וביערת הרע מקירבך” and he smashed the device.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. Is it permitted for one talmid to “snitch” or “act on his own” in such cases and be a “moser” against his chaver or should he have simply counseled his chaver that the “smart phones” are assur and not taken matters into his own hands.

  2. What’s there to say…..?

    Then you wonder why this Dor is so messed up (even in E’Y). Since when did “removing bad from YOUR midst” entail a right to cause a hefsid mamon to someone else? Granted, I don’t know the details, but what if the sole purpose of this phone was to use Facetime with his family overseas? Or he downloaded Shas on it,and didn’t want to carry around 2 devices.
    Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel didn’t become as great as he was because someone took away his baseball- he chose the right path himself.

  3. This story makes me swell with pride at being a Yid. Mi kiamchu yisroel? Imagine this happened in public school. Or in Catholic school. Unimaginable!! The goy whose phone was confiscated would go violent and beat his fellow student or teacher if they dares smash his precious (and expensive) iPhone. Yet here, it not only happens to a Yid, not only did he not react negatively, he allowed his fellow talmid confiscate his phone — even though his fellow student has no more authority than himself and was not deputized to confiscate anyone’s property — but even when his rebbe smashed his expensive iPhone, he reacted very serenely and accepted the just punishment!

    Mi k’amchu yisroel!

  4. Destroying another’s property… if the guy is so ehrlich, he should quickly reimburse his classmate before Rosh Hashana for the damages he caused. What’s that story from the gemara where a rabbi ripped a woman’s dress off because she was wearing red, and another rabbi ruled that he needs to pay the woman because it wasn’t the rabbi’s business destroying another person’s item??

  5. This (the idea that owning an iphone and being an עד) is going to lead to a lot of questionable potentially invalid marriages.
    Are we c’v going to have a future generation of people who will be considered by some to be mamzerim and others not?!? I hate to think!

  6. It has to be a more just, sensible and Torahdig way to go about keeping a ban than to be destructive.

    How about donating it to a senior citizen home so the residents can call family members and view their fotos?

  7. My opinion is that this talmid has the obligation to reimburse the chavrusa for the damage to the phone. Certainly he should have let the rabbanim deal with it and not take actions into his own hands.

  8. What about Viheshiv es Hag’zeila?
    And did he get the boy’s permission before destroying his personal property?

    Besides, who said this talmid is michuyav to follow Rav Wosner’s psak when others obviously do not hold like that?

    If you want to ban it from your Yeshiva, you’re obviously entitled to do so. But how can you irreversibly destroy it? Maybe he could have sold it, or given it to someone else not in the Yeshiva?

  9. To Hakatan (no. 16)

    There is obviously no chiyuv for this talmid, whose property was mamash stolen by the chavrusah, to follow the psak of rav Wosner, since many other rabbonim think Wosner is wrong and disagree entirely on the whole issue of using smartphones. We are not authorized by halacha or chazal to be be dayanim and issue summary judgements and impose punishment on those we disagree with. I doubt even Rav Wosner would approve of such behavior and if he does, there are legitimate reasons to ignore such a psak.

  10. I find this humorous. Almost as believable as a prerequisite for a shidduch is what colour table cloth the family uses.. Please, its Erev Rosh hashonah, not Purim

  11. How do we know if this story is really true, but what is important for all the readers & those who responded, is to consider how we initally reacted & to introspect to see if we are not guilty of a simmilar issues in other areas.

  12. Let us ALL STOP and THINK for a moment ….
    What about the bochur – what if because of whats happened to him – he loses his chevrusa as a “friend” – he leaves that yeshiva out of embarrassment – he turns away from yiddishkeit – leaves yeshiva life altogether and goes along a pathway none of you would want him to go ?
    WHAT ARE YOU GOING to do and say then ?
    And don’t think it doesnt happen – the INTOLERANCE levels amongst “frum” people are driving away the next generation – so lets STOP this nastiness and evil – and become TOLERANT and COMPASSIONATE for every NESHOMA in the world – especially something who is sitting in a yeshiva !

  13. Actually I heard (can’t confirm) that the Lubavitcher Rebbe Zatzal told people that one is not chayuv nezek for destroying a television set. That being said, except for ffb chassidim and Rosh Yeshiva’s families, many ffbs born prior to 1980 likely did have a TV in their house

  14. LOL. This is so sad, I have to laugh to keep from crying. How far have we fallen? How much can we devolve? Whatever this nonsense is, it is not Yiddishkeit.

  15. Haktan: “Maybe he could have sold it, or given it to someone else not in the Yeshiva?” Really? Is it only not kosher for someone is yeshiva? The point is, iphones (and other technology) is destroying the ruchnius of klal yisroel!

    While I do agree with their policy, I’m not arguing with you about that. Rather, they have that policy because they realize it’s destructive nature, and that being the case, giving it to someone else or selling it (unless to a goy) is really hypocritical.